Ed Paulson Oral History Interview
Interview with Ed Paulson November 23, 1978
Interviewed by his niece (Mae’s daughter, Paula)
N: November 23rd, 1978 and we’re in St. Helena with Uncle Ed Paulson. And I just want to ask Uncle Ed different questions about the family because I don’t remember anything. Let’s see. OK. Uncle Ed I want you to tell me where your mother and dad were born and when.
E: Well my mother was born in Zurich, Canton of Zurich, and ??? was the name of the town. And she was born there October the 28th, 1862. And my dad was born in Schleswig-Holstein in Denmark in September 16, 1861.
N: So that makes me Swiss-Dane.
E: They were just one year apart.
N: Yeah, that’s great. Now when did they come to the United States?
E: Well, my mother came when she was about five years old and my dad came when he was about seven years old.
N: So they met in California?
E: My dad, they were in New York, then they move to Iowa, and then later came to California and settled in Sacramento Valley in Courtland, where they reclaimed the islands there. And they built levees around to keep the water out.
N: And where were they married?
E: They were married in St. Helena as far as I know.
N: OK. Now, they came from Courtland? They didn’t know each other then, before..
E: No, my dad was from Courtland, but he worked in St. Helena.
N: And Nana was already in St. Helena?
E: And my mother was in St. Helena and they got acquainted there.
N: OK. So they met in St. Helena. Now there were nine children in the family. Were ally you kids born in St. Helena?
E: All were born right in the town, excepting Mabel. Mabel was born out on the ranch, the Mordoff(?) ranch, just outside the town limits.
N: Just out of the town limits. That’s the one on Silverado Trail.
E: Yeah, just off Silverado Trail.
N: How long has your family lived in the ranch house?
N: Over on Pope Street. When did you start living in the ranch house?
E: Well our family started living there in about 1898, I think. Jay was born in 1899.
N: Ok. So you moved there just before…
E: 1869, rather.
N: Where were you born? You weren’t in that house then.
E: I don’t know if I was born there or in the house below. Cause we lived in ??? Lane. But I was born right there somewhere.
N: I see. Well, I would like to know… I can remember that you worked at the St. Helena Star for years and years. But you didn’t always work there. Tell me where you started working and how you went in the service and when you came back, what kind of jobs you had.
E: I graduated from grammar school in 19… well, I started working at the Star in 1902. And then in 1909 I went over to Suisun, and was foreman of the newspaper there for two years. Then I learned to linotype. And then I got a job in Ortland, at The Mail in Ortland. And then in 1912, the foreman quit in St. Helena and they offered me the foremanship, so I came back then and worked 43 more years, 50 years all together. N: And that was originally for Mr. Mackinder?
E: Yeah. Until he died and then it was for his wife.
N: Now what did you do as foreman at the Star? Exactly what did you do?
E: Well, I set type, and run the linotype. Set type by hand and set up all kinds of ads, all kinds of job work, books and book-binding, and run the automatic presses. And in fact, everything. You had to do everything in a country office.
N: And you did everything by hand, didn’t you. You set everything by hand.
E: Well, until we got the linotype. Then we set by machines.
N: When did you retire from the St. Helena Star?
N: OK. And you’re involved, have been involved in the weather service, a weather observer for St. Helena. How many years?
E: Well, I started July, 1921. So I’m 57 years… going on my 58th year.
N: OK. And I know you’ve had numerous awards and dinners in your honor, and you got a letter from one of the presidents of the United States.
E: Yeah, I got a letter from the President of the United States, Governor of California, the congressmen sent telegrams, and from the senators and assemblymen, and the Secretary of the Treasury, no, not of Treasury… the Secretary of Commerce. It was under Agriculture first, and then under Commerce.
N: Is it presently under Commerce?
E: At the present time it’s under Secretary of Commerce, and that’s the last award I got, there.
N: I see the Edward Stoll Award. Is that the one?
N: That’s quite an honor. And you’re still doing the weather aren’t you? How old are you right now?
N: And you’re going to be 94 next May. May 23rd. Right?
E: That’s right.
N: You look marvelous. Are you feeling good?
E: Well, I feel all right.
N: What president was it that sent you that letter? Was it Nixon?
E: Nixon, yeah. Ronald Reagan… when he was governor, too.
N: That’s great. Now tell me, during the war years, during WWI, what were you doing? Were you working in St. Helena?
E: I was working at the Star. At the first draft in WWI, I was too old.
N: Now I know Uncle Willard was 16 months younger than you.
E: Yeah. Willard went in. He was 31, or 30, and I was 31. He was just under the limit. It was 21 to 31 I think. Yeah, that first draft.
N: I know you just missed it. But, you, I know, helped support your family, and you sent various pictures…
E: When my dad died, yeah. I paid the taxes on the place after my dad died and I totally got money from the ranch over here.
N: And you helped your sisters go to school too, didn’t you? You helped Aunt Lily.
E: Yeah, yeah, and she always speaks about it.
N: Now you had a car one time in your life, didn’t you?
E: a what?
N: You had an automobile at one time in your life. Didn’t you own an automobile?
E: I never owned an automobile. But I had driven. I learned how to drive a Model T Ford.
N: Who owned a car in the family?
E: Willard, and Jay. He owned some. All my brothers owned, and I didn’t have to have one.
N: Now how did you get around if you didn’t have a car?
E: With a bicycle.
N: How many years have you ridden a bicycle?
E: Oh, ever since I worked the Star office. I bought my first bicycle so I could deliver papers, see.
N: Now it’s just been the last few years you quit riding a bike.
E: Yeah, I do more walking. I’ve got four or five bicycles now. My last one I got, Mrs. Kistmiller gave me as a present.
N: You started to tell me at dinner today about Grandpa and how he had a milk dairy. What did your father do when he came to California? Did he start a dairy and run a dairy?
E: Well, he was seven years old and they came to the Sacramento ranch, and he came over here and he worked for a winery up here. And then he was a cabinetmaker by trade. He done buildings. He could build buildings. He was a cabinetmaker by trade and he built buildings. I remember he built the slaughterhouse out here, and then they gave a dance when the slaughterhouse was finished. And Willard and I were at the dance, and there was only one girl there so we changed off dancing with her all night long. My dad played the violin. He played the dance hall, played the violin.
N: He played violin, and all your brothers and sisters played different instruments. Now tell me what they played.
E: Well, I was the oldest of nine and all the other eight played the piano. Of course when I was young they didn’t have any piano. And then later I played the saxophone in the band, and I played the trombone in an orchestra, and when I was in Suisun, I belonged to this mandolin club, Flaming Mandolin Club in Suisun.
N: What did Willard play?
E: Willard played the slide trombone in the band.
N: Now I know Anita died when she was fairly young, but did she play an instrument at all?
N: Aunt Anita. Did she play any instrument?
E: Well, she played piano, as far as I know.
N: Well, Aunt Luv played piano.
E: Yeah, Lily played the piano. Mother played the piano, Jay, Louie and Malcolm. They all played the piano.
N: Mal played another instrument. Didn’t he play the saxophone, too?
E: Yeah. He played in the band too.
N: Now was this band a local dance band, with friends?
E: No, it was the regular St. Helena Concert band. And later it was the Municipal Band. We gave concerts, you see, up there in the park. In the new bandstand. I was secretary of the band when we built that bandstand.
N: What other organizations in St. Helena do you belong to now.
E: Well, I belong to St. Helena Chamber of Commerce, Native Sons of the Golden West, the St. Helena Masonic Lodge, and the Eastern Star in St. Helena and the Royal Arts Masters in Napa and the Royal Select Masters in Vallejo. That sums up to the 10th degree, I think. See there’s 32 degrees, and there’s a 33, and that’s an honorary degree, like President Truman. Those fellas get the honorary… it’s just an honorary degree.
N: And you’re also a member… a trustee of the St. Helena Cemetery.
E: St. Helena Board of Trustees.
N: How many years ago were you given this special honor of “Citizen of the Year” in St. Helena?
E: I think it was ’73. 1973. I was the citizen of the year, and they give one every year, and those names are gonna be…they’re gonna build a new library, and they’re gonna be posted in the library.
N: And you’ll be the first one.
E: I was the first one.
N: And that dinner. I remember that. That was held at Beringer’s winery. That’s quite an honor.
E: Yeah. They printed 300 tickets that time and they all sold out. And then my niece, “Toots” we call her, in Sacramento. They came all that way, and they had to get extra tickets.
N: I remember that. Her daughter came too, didn’t she?
E: No, her granddaughter…. Or no, her sister’s daughter. She raised two of her sister’s daughters.
N: That’s right, Toots didn’t have any children. Now, Toots is what to you?
E: A cousin. Soren Paulson’s daughter. That’s my father’s brother.
N: Did your mom have sisters or brothers?
E: Yeah. Daisy Voss, V-O-double S. and Walter Luthold.
N: And Luthold was Nana’s maiden name?
E: No, she was born Anna Moos. M-double O-S. But then they separated, and then she remarried, and my mother went under the name of Luthold then.
N: All right. Then are these other brothers and sisters her half-brother and sister?
E: Yeah. Daisy, the girl, and Walter, the boy.
N: Did they stay in Switzerland, or were they born in the states.
E: No, no. They must have been born in America. Yeah, they were born in America.
N: Did your father have brothers or sisters?
E: Yeah, he had about six brothers. Fred was the oldest. Fred, Soren, Louie, Andrew, Johnny, and they said they had one girl, but she passed away. Yeah, I think Fred was the oldest. Fred, Suren, Peter, Louie, Andrew and Johnny. He was the youngest one.
N: Now is Peter the reason Uncle Jay was named Peter?
E: Yeah. He was named after him.
N: Now you were named Edward Lauritz. Were you named after any family member?
E: No, Lauritz is … they say Louis in Denmark, in Danish. So my second name is Lauritz. L-A-U-R-I-T-Z
N: And your father’s name was Louis. So you were actually named after your father.
E: Yeah but I don’t think he had a middle name. He never had one.
N: But Louis in Denmark is actually Lauritz, So you were named after your father. And Willard, what was his middle name
N: Was he named after any family member?
E: Not that I know of.
N: What year was he born in?
E: He was born in ’86. 1886. September 22nd.
N: And Anita’s middle name was what?
N: Now what year was she born in?
E: Well, I don’t know. She must’ve been born two years after Willard.
N: And then there was Luvina, and then Lily, Lily Ethel. Luvina Matie and Lily Ethel, and Mabel Isabel. Was mother named for any family member, Mabel Isabel, or was it just…
E: Not that I know of.
N: Mabel Isabel. She was the youngest girl, and then there was… Jay was next or Louie?
E: Jay. Jay was just a nickname.
N: Yeah. How did… Jaybird, they used to call him.
E: They said he sang like a jaybird. He used to sing solos in the school, you know. My cousin said he sang like a jaybird. Then they went and named him Jay.
N: Yeah. Ralph Peter. When I was born and raised, I only knew him as Uncle Jay. And I didn’t know his name was Ralph Peter until I was quite a ways, quite a while older. Okay, now, he really played a lot of piano. He played a lot, all over the valley here. And he played once, I know, at Veterans’ Home.
E: He played for Eddie Peabody, World’s Best Banjo Player. He said the band, he wanted him to accompany him. But Jay didn’t want to do it. He never wanted to leave home. I couldn’t ever get him to work at Mare Island.
N: Really? Now, what did you boys do on the ranch? Was it always a dairy farm? What else was it? What else did you raise?
E: We raised prunes and walnuts, yeah a bunch of walnuts, and a couple other trees, but they died out. Cherries died out.
N: When did you get the chickens?
E: Well, I raised chickens ever since I was a kid. I always liked chickens and pigeons.
N: Now tell me about the pigeons because you had award winning pigeons over the years. You’ve gone to fairs.
E: Yeah. I showed them in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Napa, Santa Rosa and all the near fairs.
N: How did you get interested in pigeons?
E: Well, when I was a kid, about six, a neighbor gave me a pair of common pigeons.
N: Just white pigeons? Gray?
E: No, blue with white heads, white wings, at the edge of the wings. And then later on I bought homing pigeons, some Birmingham Rollers, you know. And then people gave me some pigeons.
N: Now what did you do, did you send messages with these pigeons?
E: Well, no I didn’t belong to any club, but sometimes people would go away, I would give them a capsule to attach to the leg, you know. And then one man went up to the Sierras, took a pigeon along, said he was a gold… panning for gold,. If he found gold, he’s send back. I got it, he sent me a gold nugget in this capsule, attached to the pigeon’s leg. I’ve got it at home somewhere.
N: The pigeon came right back here!
E: Oh yeah, the pigeon came right back home.
N: I can remember, as a kid, going through the pigeon coop, and having you send a pigeon out. Or they’d come back and they’d nest on the top of those big screen things that you used to have to put them in.
E: Somebody would have to take them away, you know, and then let them loose.
N: How many years did you actually have the pigeons, cause I know it was a long time.
E: Well, since I was six years old, I had some, and then later on I had some here, about 1920, or somewhere. Then I got some when I got settled down there. Then I had them off and on.
N: You had them ever since I can remember, as a kid. And also, you had a special rooster or something. Didn’t you have a special, big red rooster that you won some prize for.
E: Yeah. Rhode Island Reds. I used to exhibit them. And then I exhibited several Wyandotts.
N: And you won prizes with them. How long has it been since you quit putting them in fairs? Cause I know you used to go all the time.
E: Several years. Let’s see. Four or five years ago, I guess.
N: So you did it until …
E: Because the animals got in and killed most of my… tear the backs open, you know. And that way I lost all my chickens, and in fact all my pigeons too.
N: Yeah. That’s kinda hard, I guess, isn’t it? Because up here you get a lot of wild animals come in and try to eat the animals. Well do you still have any walnuts and stuff like that over there?
E: Oh yeah, there’s some right on the ground now, you can pick them up if you want. This rain is knocking them down
N: Now where’s your weather instruments?
E: Down in the place.
N: In the ranch house.
E: Yeah. One is in back. The instrument gauge is in two, see. Maximum and minimum, see.
N: Now I know the family… just for my benefit…I never visited the property, but I know the family, up until last year, had some property that was in Sacramento County, right? That Mr. Weedman was living on. Now was that property your father and mother’s?
E: No, my grandfather left the 15 acres to four boys. Nels Paulson was a building contractor in Sacramento, so each boy, the other three bought 5 acres from him. And my father borrowed the money in Sacramento to pay for that. He paid 10% interest for 10 years. So then he asked me and my brother if we had any money and we said we had some. So Willard and I then paid off the mortgage on those five acres. But we never did get… my dad said he’d fix it up so we wouldn’t lose anything, but he died in the meantime, so we, I and my brother, both lost what we had invested.
N: OK, so then the property that Mr. Weedman was on actually belonged to the children of Louis Paulson. Is that right?
N: So that’s how it went to each one of you kids. All right, and that was recently sold. Where was that property located?
E: You mean in Sacramento? On Sutter Island. Near Courtland.
N: And now, Toots still lives in Courtland, doesn’t she?
E: Yes. She lives in Courtland.
N: How old was your father when he passed away?
E: My dad? He passed away in nine…
E: Yeah. 1919 (nineteen nineteen) He was born in ’61. He would have been 58. He had throat trouble. I think, he smoked quite a bit, you know, and I think it affected his throat.
N: And then Nana went on to live to be quite elderly, didn’t she? My grandmother, your mother, Anna.
E: Yeah. She passed away in ’34 I think, was it.
N: Well, I was born in ’36, and I think I was about 11 or 12 when she died. So she probably died in 1948, or somewhere in there. But she was about 82 I think. 82 or 83.
E: I think she passed away about August or September. Her birthday was in October.
N: Oh I see. Now I wanted to ask you about my mother and father. Now didn’t they meet in St. Helena?
E: Yes. He’d been in the Navy I think,
E: and his… what was her name?
N: A friend of my mother’s, Goldie.
E: His father, his stepfather ran a cigar store, soft drinks and things like that. And they mighta had a bowling alley and his business hall, you know, something like that.
N: So he came to St. Helena and he met my mom. Where were they married? In Oakland?
E: San Francisco, I think.
N: Then they moved… They lived in Oakland or San Francisco, cause I’m trying to remember when they moved to Vallejo. Do you remember when they moved to Vallejo?
E: No, I don’t know. Maybe he got a job at the island then, didn’t he?
N: Yeah, Mare Island.
E: I don’t know which year, but they lived in Vallejo, yeah.
N: Most of their lives.
E: Until Knox appointed him, Les, to the job in Oakland, or Alameda, wherever it is.
N: It was in Oakland –Naval Supply Center
E: He was Secretary of War, wasn’t he? Knox?
N: You’d know, I wouldn’t. I don’t know.
E: Yeah, he was from Chicago, I think. Knox, I think his name was. I think he was Secretary of War, and he appointed Les to that job down there.
N: See I was only six when we moved from Vallejo to Oakland. It was right before World War II broke out. No, WWII had broken out, I think. Because I can’t remember exactly when we moved from Vallejo. But Dad worked in Oakland. He commuted for a few months until they could sell the house. Then we moved to Oakland. Well, let’s see… What else was I going to ask you? You said you worked, you know, after… well, when you got out of high school, did you graduate from St. Helena High?
E: No. I never went to high school.
N: OK, elementary school…
E: I went to work right out of the grammar school.
N: That was by… you had to because you had to support the children.
E: Well, I got $10 a month and now you give them $5 a month for rent. Board and lodging.
N: Board and room.
E: After six months, I got $15; after a year I got $20. And I worked two years. My cousins owned a drug store, said you better learn to be a druggist. So I went over to be a druggist. I didn’t like it and I went back to the printing business again. Then Jay, when he went to high school, he went and worked there before and after school, and he didn’t like it. And then my mother asked Walter if Louie could work there. Walter then was her cousin. So he said Louie, and Louie stuck with it, see.
N: Yeah. He went on to be a pharmacist.
E: After school, you know, and on Saturdays and vacations.
N: What other jobs did Uncle Willard have? He worked at the drug store, and then he went into the service. What else did he do?
E: No, you mean Willard? Well, Willard started out as a butcher, in a butcher shop. Then he worked in a grocery store. Then he worked as a groceryman. Then when he come back, he and one of the other fellas bought what they called the Knox Market, there. He owned his own grocery store, for quite a while, Willard and a partner. That’s when he got married then.
N: Now what grocery store was it then my mother used to work in?
E: Oh, she worked in Ross and Anderson’s.
N: Oh, that was it. Ok.
E: Yeah. They were the first ladies that worked in stores, she and Lucille Metzner. And then they wore these overalls. These type of overalls you used to wear. They wore those. I think Mae had a picture with a sack of flour on her shoulder or something.
N: Right. I seem to remember that, because she was telling me that she and Louise were the only girls that had started working in a store.
N: Was Louise Metzner Walter’s daughter?
E: No. She was Louie Metzner’s daughter.
N: Louie and Walter were brothers?
E: Yeah. It was Louie Metzner, Walter Metzner, Fred Metzner and Arnold Metzner. And then the girl, one girl.
N: Uh-huh. In the family. Well, let’s see. What else can I ask you about? I just want to know so much about the history. And you told me when Grandma and Grandpa came over from the old country. And I guess their parents then originally were… Did you know your grandparents at all?
E: Oh, yeah, yeah. His name was Paul Paulson and her name was Agnetta Paulson, and Toots, that’s Mrs. Lampel. Her name was Agnetta. She was named after her grandmother, Agnetta. Oh, I knew them, yeah.
N: You knew them. Where did they live?
E: They lived on Sutter Island, on that ranch. And the one boy stayed with them, Pete, I think. I guess the ranch was bigger and they gave Pete so many acres, you know, before he passed away.
N: Now what about Anna’s, your mother’s parents. The Moos or the Luthor people. Did they come to this country at all?
E: Well Moos. My grandmother left Mr. Moos in Europe, see, in Switzerland, and she came to America. And he came later to America and wanted to get her back, or something, but she didn’t want to. And the only picture we have of him, he was an officer in the United States Navy or United States Army stationed at the Presidio. Then he went back to Zurich, Switzerland and taught school in the university there. That’s the last I heard of him. Although when he passed away, my mother got part of his estate. She got $36 I think it was. And he remarried, and one of his daughters is younger than I am. So that would make my mother’s half-sister, and she’s younger than I am. And then one of the boys came to New York and was there a long time. That’s an odd name: M-double o- s. Then we saw where President Roosevelt appointed somebody in New York by the name of Moos to something! Now he might have been one of our relatives, cause that’s a rare name, M- double o- s.
N: It is, and that’s how the spelling is.
E: I never met him; I don’t know.
N: You wouldn’t really have any way of knowing. Well, that’s good. I really want to know, on your side of the family, cause I know with my father, he didn’t have very many relatives, did he? His mother and dad… Let’s see… My father’s real dad was Dr. Wright. Now did he and my grandmother divorce, or did he die?
E: No. I think he died.
N: I think he died too. OK. Then Grandma Goldie met Baca Goldie or Mr. Goldie and they lived in St. Helena? Cause you said he owned a cigar store.
E: Yeah. They had that cigar store, and stand. I think they had a pool room in there, with card tables.
N: Yes she did.
E: San Francisco used to put on…start the service, see.
N: OK, so he died before Grandma Goldie did. Mr. Goldie died before she did.
E: So… I think so. yeah, I guess he must have.
N: Santa Rosa… I don’t know. Other than being in San Francisco, I don’t really know anything about my grandparents, and that’s why I was wondering if you did. Now you were talking about the Masons and Eastern Star. Now, how many times have you been a patron in Eastern Star?
N: You were six times patron, for different matrons.
E: At the head of it. 1934, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1944 and 1954.
N: Well, have you been a Grand Officer in Eastern Star? Or do they have them?
E: Well, once I served at the Grand chapter as a Grand Guard.
N: Are you still Sentinel?
E: I was still Sentinel in St. Helena.
N: How many years have you been Sentinel?
E: About 30.
N: (laughing) That’s fantastic! How about Masons? Now you are a past Master. How many times?
E: Two. 1939 and 1945.
N: And you’re still an active member aren’t you?
E: And I’m still a Tyler, which is outside, you know, outside guy, the lowest, it’s the lowest form.
N: But you always do it. You always go to every meeting, don’t you.
E: Yeah. I try to.
N: Now you have retired, of course, and you have led a very active life, haven’t you?
E: I try to, yeah.
N: What organizations are you a part of now? Like Creative Living and so on. What do you do there?
N: At Creative Living.
E: Well, I don’t do anything. I’m just a member.
N: But don’t you go on various activities and things like that?
E: Well, yes. If they go on trips or something like that. They have a workshop at 10:00 in the morning. ??? and they make different things. I generally get up there a little before 12.
N: They have lunch for you and things like that?
E: Yeah, serving things.
N: And Senior Citizens. How many years have you been a member of Senior Citizens?
E: Oh, Lord. I don’t know.
N: Many years, huh?
E: A good many years.
N: Do they take trips and do things you enjoy doing?
E: Yeah. They’re taking two in December. One will be on the 5th to Santa Rosa, and the other to San Francisco, about the middle of the month.
N: Do you have a dining club in St. Helena? What do they do for you?
E: They give you dinners, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They serve dinners, like… They give you a menu at the head of the month called “Dining Club News” and it gives what you’re gonna have every day. Creative Living has a dinner on Monday, and they charge 75¢. And the others charge… well they want at least 75¢, not over a dollar, and if you haven’t got any money, you don’t have to pay.
N: That’s really nice. How many people go to these luncheons or dinners?
E: The other Thanksgiving, Monday, 60 I think. But then Tuesday, there weren’t that many.
N: They gave you Thanksgiving dinner this week, did they?
E: Yeah. Monday. A free dinner. And then Tuesday you could donate what you want. I donate a dollar.
N: That’s great, cause between the Creative Living Center and the Dining Club…
E: The dining club is four days, till Friday. And Friday afternoon is one o’clock after the Senior Citizens meet every Friday. That’s one group. The other group meets on the third Wednesday of every month down at the Episcopal Church.
N: That brings up an interesting question. Has our family, has the Paulson family by terms of religious preference, have they always been of Lutheran or Methodist? What were they?
E: Well, my dad was a Lutheran, in the old country, my mother. Later on, I think somebody was there and I think the United States broke away from the European ones. But my dad, he never went to any church. I think he was married in the Presbyterian church.
N: Now as kids though, I can remember Mother saying that you’d go to church in St. Helena. Was it Grandma that took you? Your mom? Did your mother take you to church up here?
E: No. Willard and I, we started to go to Sunday School. Got all dolled up, got out to the gate, and I guess we got scared, went home and we never did go back. But the girls, they went then to the Episcopal.
N: Episcopal. I couldn’t remember which one Mother said. But I knew there was one church up here that they would go to… go to services.
E: Although in the Presbyterian, I sang in the choir there, quite a while. And then we had a double quartet, a male quartet… 8 in the quartet, or the double quartet. I sang in that. We used to practice on Thursday night and then sing on Sunday, or Christmas. But these were all before the Star. We had to work Thursday nights so I couldn’t go to practice any more.
N: Did any of your brothers or sisters sing in it?
E: Well, they sang by themselves.
N: But not in the choir or anything.
N: Yeah, you were the only one. You’ve always liked to sing, haven’t you? And I also remember that you always used to play when we had family orchestras at Christmastime and stuff. You’d play… Well, you played your hand, for one thing.
E: Yeah, that’s right!
N: That was funny. Well, I really thank you for giving me this time and this interview. And I’m gonna get that book out and I’m gonna show you some pictures of family members that I’d like you to look at and see if you can tell me their names.
E: Is it one of those little ones, do you think.
N: I’ll set this up here, so we can still hear your voice. And Craig, if you’ll hand me that pen and paper. Now look at this book. Do you remember this? It’s a real old, old…
E: Is that the one they had down at the house? We had one there I know, at one time.
N: No, it’s been years. Mother’s had this for years. And I think Jane had it originally. Thank you, Craig. Who’s number one, there?
E: That looks like my grandfather. Paul Paulson, it looks like. Now, I don’t know if it is or not. Taken in Vallejo, probably.
N: Now, is the old spelling of Paulson, s-e-n? Or has it always been s-o-n.
E: S-e-n meant s-o-n in Denmark.
N: All right.
E: So they changed it to s-o-n. Same with Mr. Jepson in Napa. J-e-p-s-e-n when he came to America, and they changed to s-o-n, his son told me, because that meant “son”. S-e-n meant “son” in English. By golly that looks like him, but it might not be… but that looks like my grandmother.
N: Probably your grandfather and grandmother. Paul Paulson and wife.
E: Now I don’t know who that is.
N: I’ll put down “Ed’s grandparents” in case that’s who it is. OK, now what I want to do for my sister is write down a page
E: There’s one with my mother in here.
N: OK this one I’m gonna call “Number Two”. Do you recognize that one?
E: Is that her? My mother?
N: I don’t know. I was hoping you did.
E: There was one little picture, ‘sposed to be her. Now I don’t know if that’s her or not.
N: All right. Now who would be on this page? The older woman.
E: That looks like what we used to call “Grossemutter”. That would be my great grandmother.
N: Now when you say “great grandmother” is that on your mother’s side?
E: Yeah, mother’s side.
N: OK. Anna’s side.
E: I think that’s my mother there. I think she had a little picture like that in one of these books.
N: Will this old picture album itself is… I don’t know how many years old it must be. Can you guess how many years that must be?
E: Oh, I don’t know. A hundred do you think?
N: Must be, at least. If it goes back this far. OK. Now I’m gonna call this page “Number Four”. Do you know who those little children are?
E: I don’t recognize those.
N: All right. We’ll call him “Number Five” .
E: But that looks like my mother’s sister’s husband. He looks like him. I don’t know. His name was V-o-double x. Voxx
E: Yeah. That was his last name, as near as I can figure.
N: Well, a lot of these we might be mistaken on, but you’re the only one who would know. OK. Who might this be?
E: I don’t recognize him. I wonder… what was on the back of that? You think there would be..
N: Del hasn’t taken any of them out. She didn’t want to disturb them yet. She thought she’d find out from you who you think they are, then… She didn’t want to tear up the pages, you know.
E: Could be on the back.
N: Could be… Well, I don’t know. Maybe she’s tried to find out. Cause I think you can slip… Well, I’ll let her do that. I don’t think those are too easy to get out. OK, Now, number 8 is no picture, and number 9 is this gentleman. Can you recognize him?
E: I don’t recognize him, no.
N: OK. How about this trio?
E: No, I couldn’t tell who they are.
N: They’re really old pictures. That’s why we thought if they’re old relatives of yours, you might not recognize… Does that look familiar to you?
E: Yeah, I can’t figure out.
N: Nobody there. OK. How about that one?
E: I don’t know. I would think it would be on the back of one.
N: No, there’s nothing written. Now this says “San Francisco”. It says the studio. I think that’s why she wanted me to ask you. She’s looked on the back of these, and there hasn’t been anything. Now you don’t know him either? Number 13.
N: We might find somebody you recognize. We’ll just keep turning the pages. Do you recognize her?
E: No, I don’t.
N: And him?
N: All right. Maybe it’s not even our family! OK. That’s a woman there.
E: No I don’t recognize her.
E: Say that looks like my dad. I don’t know whether it is or not, but it looks something like him when he was young. It may be. I don’t know.
N: See I didn’t see him cause he was gone before I was born. He does look like you kids. How about her?
E: I don’t know.
N: Everyone with a beard I think is my grandfather, but that can’t be the case, can it? How about this one?
E: No I don’t recognize him.
N: OK I’m trying to keep the numbers straight with the pictures. Oops. That’s why. Wait a minute…That one is Bob. OK. We’ll call that one 22. We know her. Now there’s a bride and groom, it looks like.
E: Yeah, it looks like.
N: You don’t know them though.
E: No. I don’t recognize them. I don’t recognize him either.
N: OK.. That woman?
N: And there’s a man, we’ll call him #25. And that looks like a young …what is that, a boy by a table? Do you know this boy? I thought maybe one of these might be you.
N: And you don’t know them…Her?
E: No, and I don’t know him either.
N: That looks like a not-as-old a picture.
E: No, I don’t know.
N: Either one of those?
N: Let me put down #35. We don’t know him. How about her? Looks like a young gal, doesn’t it? That one you don’t know… That one?
E: No, I don’t.
N: If you do, let me know. Otherwise I’ll just write question marks. That looks like the same one we saw earlier, doesn’t it? And that gentleman? Pretty hair. That’s a young… who’s that, a girl? Don’t know him, or him.
E: Is that kinda like a nun?
N: Yeah, it almost looks like a ….
E: I think my mother said some relative of theirs was a nun in the… not the Catholic church, something else. Just like a nun in the Catholic church. Lutheran or something like that. I don’t know if that was her or not.
N: Now would that be like …
E: She said some relative was… in Switzerland.
N: She didn’t say which relative? In Switzerland?
E: I guess that’s her. I never knew her.
N: This may well have been Nana Polly’s (Pauli’s?) book, which means maybe they’re all her old relatives, or something…if you think that’s Nana Polly’s relative. Do you recognize that one? Or this one?
E: Don’t know who that is.
N: OK. The pages are quite worn. And that last one, with the man and the woman, see there’s nothing written on the backs of these. I think that’s why Delores was concerned. But it is a beautiful, beautiful old album. And it was, I think probably, Nana Polly’s, which is why it was in mother’s possession. I think Delores really wanted to make sure we kept it. Here Craig, would you just hold it. Be real careful.
You have pictures in your possession of our family, don’t you? I mean, of the Paulsons. Do you have albums?
E: Well, down home. It’s little pictures. A lot of shots. I didn’t have a lot, and some have been teared out. There’s some the girls have torn out or something.
N: Yeah, that happens. I just thought, it’d be kind of fun to see old ones like that. But I’ll bet maybe that album belonged to Nana Polly, or something, if you don’t recognize the relatives. Well, that was delightful. If I can think of anything else, I’ll come back and tape you more.